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Today in history: September 22

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2005. There are 100 days left in the year. Autumn arrives at 6:23 p.m. EDT.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 22, 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British during the Revolutionary War.

On this date:
In 1789, Congress authorized the office of Postmaster-General.

In 1792, the French Republic was proclaimed.

In 1927, Gene Tunney successfully defended his heavyweight boxing title against Jack Dempsey in the famous “long-count” fight in Chicago.

In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb.

In 1950, Omar N. Bradley was promoted to the rank of five-star general, joining an elite group that included Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall and Henry H. “Hap” Arnold.

In 1964, the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 3,242 performances.

In 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempted to shoot President Ford outside a San Francisco hotel, but missed.

In 1980, the Persian Gulf conflict between Iran and Iraq erupted into full-scale war.

In 1985, rock and country music artists participated in FarmAid, a concert staged in Champaign, Ill., to help the nation’s farmers.

In 1989, songwriter Irving Berlin died in New York City at age 101.

Ten years ago: An AWACS plane carrying U.S. and Canadian military personnel crashed on takeoff from Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska, killing all 24 people aboard. Both sides rested in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Time Warner struck a $7.5 billion deal to buy Turner Broadcasting System Inc. Publishing tycoon Steve Forbes announced a latecomer bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Five years ago: President Clinton directed the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the government’s emergency stockpile. Kraft Foods recalled all taco shells sold nationwide in supermarkets under the Taco Bell brand after tests confirmed they were made with StarLink, a genetically engineered corn not approved for human consumption.

One year ago: British hostage Kenneth Bigley appeared on a video posted on an Islamic Web site weeping and pleading for his life (he was later beheaded by his captors). In Haiti, the death toll from Tropical Storm Jeanne topped 1,000. CBS-owned stations were fined a total of $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for Janet Jackson’s exposed right breast during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Today’s Birthdays: Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda is 78. Musician King Sunny Ade is 59. Actor Paul Le Mat is 59. Captain Mark Phillips is 57. Rock singer David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) is 54. Actress Shari Belafonte is 51. Singer Debby Boone is 49. Country singer June Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 49. Singer Nick Cave is 48. Rock singer Johnette Napolitano is 48. Opera singer Andrea Bocelli is 47. Singer-musician Joan Jett is 45. Actress Catherine Oxenberg is 44. Actor Scott Baio is 44. Actor Rob Stone is 43. Rock musician Matt Sharp is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Big Rube (Society of Soul) is 34. Actor Tom Felton is 18.

Thought for Today: “One of the great lessons the fall of the leaf teaches, is this: Do your work well and then be ready to depart when God shall call.” — Tryon Edwards, American clergyman (1809-1894).